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Pruth Campaign Skirmish Action in 6mm using Pikeman’s Lament – Part 3: First Game

The Little One and I were eager to have a go and test the Pikeman’s Lament (PL) rules, here is a write-up of it.  For some background on this diversion see here  (initial thoughts and overview) and here (painting up the units).  6mm miniatures played on a brand new 2 by 2 feet board (that we made the day before) played using centimeters instead of inches so in relative terms it would have been as playing with on 5 by 5 feet board using 28mm and inches. It is not a roll-for-roll account but a summary how it all played out.

Forces

We selected 24 points for each side resulting in the following two forces:

Ottomans

2 units of  Veteran Shot @ 6 points each (Janissaries; may form Close Order)

3 Gallopers @ 4 points each (Sipahis cavalry, I changed my mind of these from being Trotters)

For the Ottoman officer we rolled Mercenary Officer, representing a foreigner with some renown but not fully trusted bythe men (offering no morale bonus for units within 12”) We decided that he was a French officer and we used the French officer from our Sharp Practice French Marine unit to mark his unit – one of the Janissary units.  We named him Lieutenant Dupont,  a young commander disgraced in his home country turned mercenary and eager to get promoted through the ranks by impressing the Pasha.

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Russians

3 Dragoons @ 4 points each

2 Forlorn Hope @ 6 points each (Grenadiers)

For Officer background trait we rolled the result Hothead indicating an officer with difficulties with his superiors but, leading from the front, with the full trust of his men. This gives him the ability of Strong – a re-roll for an attack/defence die during every attack. We decided that he was Podporuchik Alekseyev (Podporuchik was a rank introduced by Peter the Great in 1703, equivalent to a second Lieutenant). We used one of the other Dragoons as a marker for this leader in the battle (not counting him as a figure).

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The Scenario and Set-up

We opted for the scenario C: King’s War Chest. The Russian’s are defending and at the Start of the Scenario have one of the Dragoon units taking a bath in the river with 3 No. war chest wagons on the road. The rest of the force are off-board but can enter (if successful at activating in Turn 2)  The Ottoman strike force is aware of the important cargo and are coming from the South (right in the picture below) – this would be a good way for the young Lieutenant DuPont to get some recognition from the Pasha.  The Russia commander has just been made aware of the approaching danger and need to reinforce the Dragoon unit (that has just finished its bath and geared up) and get the wagons out of danger, either to the east or west.  The French Ottoman Lieutenant will seek to take the wagons down the way he came (South).

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Overview at the start of the battle – left near the river the refreshed dragoon unit and in the South the Ottomans are getting ready to attack. Two units of Shot and a Galloper in the upper corner and two units of Gallopers in the lower corner.

 

We now rolled for who is playing what and the Little One rolled highest on both dice and chose to attack and to be the Ottomans.  I hoped that was the last of his high rolls today!

The Battle

The Little One set out the onslaught by successfully managing to activate most of his units and my Dragoons got their act together and rode towards the Wagons.

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The Ottoman pressed forward further and the Dragoons failed to activate a shoot action to reduce some of the oncoming impact. But, by a miracle, I decided to get all the Russians on the table – the Dragoons on one flank and the Forlorn Hope on the other.

One of the Gallopers did the first attack of the day and with the follow-up attack managed to disable the Dragoons in one round. Lucky, but what a nice way to start the battle.  He then spent the following round routing them off the table.

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After this the Little One got one of his other Gallopers to get onto attacking the Forlorn hope units – I could see him being “Charged up!”.

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However they opened fire and knocked out two of the six models making the unit wavering (we used ammo box markers for this!).

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Meanwhile on my Left flank the Dragoons had advanced and used the skirmish feature attacking the Shot unit with the commander and managed to get it wavering too.  It looked like a had regained some control.

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However two rounds later the Gallopers who routed the first Dragoon unit had forced the Dragoon unit with the Russian Commander to evade straight into the jaws of the enemy.

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Shorty afterwards the Officers Dragoon unit was destroyed and the other Dragoon unit having sustained heavy fire from the Shot units withdrew toward the river. Meanwhile one of the Forlorn Hope units had snatched one of the wagons and I hoped to do the same with the other unit.

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However the second Forlorn Hope was decimated by the remaining Ottomans and I had no longer a feasible chance of doing anything more than drag some of the total war chest out of the Enemy’s hand.

The result

With only a Forlorn Hope unit left but with control of one of the War Chest wagons we agreed a 4 -2 victory to the Little One. Fair enough.

That means that Lieutenant Dupont could add 4 Honour to his roster, whilst the Russian got 2.  We also rolled on the table to see the impact of his health being a casualty in this battle – we found (following a low roll – of course) that he had manage to escape the battle field and hidden (in some honour unfriendly manner) and got captured loosing 5 points of honour.

So the honour tally of our Protagonists’ are 19 to the Ottoman and 7 to the Russian.

Afterthoughts

These were our observations:

Managing the Resource of Luck

The tests for actions (move, attacks, etc.) are good as it creates a fog of war situation, it is also interesting that a failed test for one unit stops the overall activation phase for the player.  It is irritating when it happens but not a bad rule feature – like being scared whilst watching a horror movie (I do not like it, but I like horror movies!).  The activation values for the units we used were in ranges between 5+ and 7+ (i.e. success on a role of the value or higher) or 4+ to 7+ if considering that an officer within 12″ (or cm in our case, give a -1 to the roll), the probabilities for success of doing the action, and doing anything else that round, are:

4+ – 92%, 5+ 83%, 6+ 72% and 7+ 58%.

So it gives a nice balance between trying to optimize the order in which you activate. If there are no other considerations they you should do them in the lowest activation roll order. However this indirectly decreases the chance of being able to activate a unit that may be critical for that particular round.  Luck is a finite resource and it is important to manage that resource well!

Cool Units

We found the Gallopers being very powerful and the follow-on attack was devastating – it would have helped to have some Pike available.  The Dragoon ability to evade was interesting and worked really well in the game (but I did fail to activate it a few times, and the Little One outsmarted me in using it).  We also like the Shot First Salvo rule as it makes the Shot very potent (especially the Veterans we used).

Officers

As for the Men Who Would be King rules (see more here) there are the officer traits (although there is an overall officer as opposed to unit commanders) that we found interesting – that the Little One talked with a French Accent whilst commanding his Ottomans made the game more enjoyable.

Next time we will try the special orders (i.e. sub-mission to give more glory – or to loose some) and see how it goes.

Simple but not simplistic

As for the other rules in the Series the rules are relatively simple but there is more to it and with the special abilities, activation considerations it has sufficient depth to make it interesting and very playable.

But as we say in Sweden “till syvende och sist” (at the end of the day) it is not over until the Little One’s thumb has had its say.  We both had a good time this afternoon and are looking forward to the next session.

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Very well, it seems like we have another game we can play together.

 

/ Take care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Kalisz 1706 at Salute 2017 – The Show

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Nick and I had a fantastic day at the Salute Show and my thanks also goes to Rob and Laurent who provided some priceless support in helping out before, during and after the Show.  We basically talked to people about the table, the game, the battle and the rules all day – it was brilliant!.  We did not have time to do more than a few token moves on the table.

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Rob, Nick and Laurent

I also would like to thank all of you who have read this blog that came by to say hello – I really appreciate it.  In addition to all of the others who stopped by to have a look, ask a few questions or take a picture.  Finally, I have to say that Warlords are very good at organizing this massive event and we had no problems this, or the last time, we attended Salute in 2015.

I had a quick chat with Peter Berry of Baccus who said that Joy of Six in July was now full and that he had to turn away games – this is brilliant news! Not for the people who get turned away but that there is a huge interest in putting on 6mm games. I just wonder why there are not more 6mm, or smaller scale 2 to 10mm,  land battle games at Salute, or should I say, wargames shows in general? I have not heard many people say that they have a decent table worth of figures and some terrain in 6mm – but that have been turned down setting up a game by a wargames show.  But I will leave that thought for this moment.

Apart from our table there was one more 6mm game, the Battle for Neustadt that is a cold war scenario set in West Germany in 1984. This was a nice table run by Iain Fuller and others from the Warlords Club.  They will also attend the Joy of Six in July so there is another chance to catch them there. I have had some e-mail communication with Iain in the past so it was nice to have a quick chat and say hello.

I also got a chance to see the new Baccus TYW/ECW sculpts and I let the battalion of pike and shot talk for itself. Wonderful stuff from Baccus yet again.  Peter gave me a copy of the new Swedish flag sheet for the Thirty Years war – it is very tempting indeed.

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PIke and Shot from Baccus – Wonderful!

I also talked to Peter Riley and David Pead who are the men behind the wargames calculator that I have mentioned before on the blog (see here).  They told me they have some interesting stuff coming up so I would follow them on Facebook and see what they are up to.

I also said a quick hello to Neil Shuck but did not get a chance to give him the Sharp Practice stuff for Joy of Six as I had planned.

I also had a chat with an old friend of mine, Michael Leck who put on a really nice game using his Pikemans Lament rules called Fort Mosquito 1654. This was a battle between Swedish and Dutch colonial forces set in mid 17th century Delaware, involving native tribes, attempting to wrestle control of the river and the important fur trade.  Incidentially they grabbed two of the prizes of the day – well deserved.  For more information see his blog (link here). I had a very useful discussion with Jan (who did the terrain and buildings) on how to make log cabins and the trees using steel wool that I will have to try out some time in the future.

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Fort Mosquito 1654
Here are a few shots of our table in no particular order.

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In addition Nick has put on some pictures on his facebook page (here) and on the Wyre Forest Wargames club page (here).

We produced a few organization charts to simplify the proceedings, they turned out being very useful and look good too. There were made using SmartArt Graphic in Excel and then pasted into PowerPoint with some added pictures etc.

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Saxon Playsheet 1

I also updated the PDF showing the bases used on the day (download link here – Kalisz Bases Polemos GNW and TOTSK v2 ).

We also handed out a leaflet with a few notes about the Battle and the Game, here –  Kalisz Leaflet Salute 2017.

Now getting ready for Joy of Six in July.

Finally, the 1914-21 Society (link here) who was attending had a Maxim machine gun on display but, in my view, the key piece was the Madsen Light Machine Gun.  I knew the Madsen as the LMG of the Norwegian and Danish soldiers of WW2, but did not know it was the first true light machine gun produced in a major quantity and that it was used extensively by the Russian Army in the Russo-Japanese war and during the Russian Civil War.  Thanks for your time gents!

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The 1914-21 Society Table (Laurent, thanks for the Picture)

/ That was a fun weekend

 

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The Zulus who would be Shakas – our first game of the Men who would be Kings rules

The Little One and I finally managed to do a test game of the Men who would be King rules this weekend. Basically we had a British force with regular infantry, supported by a Lancer Unity, fighting some Zulu Tribal warriors.

I recently completed two more batches of 64 Zulu miniatures based as the first one (for some further stuff on this project click here and here). I did each batch in a different shield design and I think they look ok from the distance they will be seen from.

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Three columns of Zulus, 192 of them in total plus two leaders. 2 packs of Baccus finest!.

This is twice the amounts of Zulus needed for the basic 24 point Zulu army in the rulebook.

Opposing Forces

We used the Zulu name generator (found here) to get some names for the Zulu leaders we would use in our test battle. We are not that familiar with Zulu naming convention, but we randomized a list of ten twice and got the following names.

Fuzo (Heredity, resemblance)
Bongani (Be thankful, Grateful )
Fokazi (Stranger)
Hlatshwayo (Stabbed one)
Igama (Name)
Kwanele (It is enough)
Mthokozisi (The one who gives joy)
Zwelikude (Far away)
Chitauli (Dictator, One who tells the Law)
Lwazi (Knowledge)

Bhekizizwe (Look after the Nations)
Azisa (Honour, Esteem, Pride)
Ayanda (Augment the family )
Iqhunde (Rooster)
Khayalethu (Our home)
Gabangaye (Putting one’s trust on other; Faces in the sun)
Engameli (President)
Kgabu (Richly decorate )
Minenhle (Having a good or lovely day)
Ndonsa (Bright morning star)

We then did combination of these names for the leaders as shown below.  Here is the force the Zulu player would field on the day.

Zulu Force (24 points, 6 units, 96 models) – the Hero, the pleasant and the Ugly!

  • Fierce Tribal Infantry Unit 1 (unmarried warriors) @ 4 points, led by Kwanele Azisa with a leadership value of 7+ (not very good) and with the leader trait of “Jolly Sporty” which means he has an additional 2″ (2cm at our scale) move when doing an at the double action.
  • Fierce Tribal Infantry Unit 2 (unmarried warriors) @ 4 points, led by Kgabu Minenhle, leadership value of 7+ (another crap roll), with the trait of “Up and at them” which means he must always opt for the attack.
  • Fierce Tribal Infantry Unit 3 (unmarried warriors) @ 4 points, led by Fuzo Bongani, leadership value of 5+ (that is more like it), with the trait of “Favourite of the Chief” which means that he could chose another upgrade for free and the Little One took Elite (which gives +2 to discipline).
  • Veteran Tribal Infantry Unit 1 (Married warriors) @ 4 points, led by Lwazi Ndonsa, leadership value of 5+ (another good roll), with the trait of “Ugly” that has no effect on gameplay (loving it!, the Little One is still laughing).
  • Veteran Tribal Infantry Unit 2 (Married warriors) @ 4 points, led by Iqhunde Chitauli, leadership value of 7+ (another crap roll), with the trait of “Pleasant Manner” that has no effect on gameplay.
  • Veteran Tribal Infantry Unit 3 (Married warriors) @ 4 points, led by “Bhekizizwe Azisa”, leadership value of 5+ (good roll), with the trait of Hero of the Zulu Empire which gives him a Leadership value of 4+.

A nice little mixture of some very good leadership values (the lower the better!) and some not so good!.

For the British we used a few names inspired by some of the fantastic stories by H.P. Lovecraft.

British Force (24 points, 4 units, 44 models)

  • Regular Infantry Unit @ 6 points, led by Colour Sergeant Nahum Gardner, leadership value at 5+ (good roll), with a trait of being the “Favourite of the Major-General” giving him a free trait, we went for Sharpshooters that bring firing to 4+ (a very good value).
  • Unenthusiastic Infantry Unit @ 5 points, led by Corporal Wilbur Whateley, leadership value at 7+ (another 1 rolled) and with the trait of “Coward” meaning he must always attempt to move to stay beyond enemy movement distances (brilliant against Zulus who very likely will be charging!)
  • Unenthusiastic Infantry Unit @ 5 points, led by Corporal William Dyer, leadership value at 5+ (good) and with the trait of “Hero of the Empire” giving him a leadership at 4+.
  • Regular Lancer Cavalry Unit @ 8 points, led by Sergeant Thomas Olney, leadership value of 6+ (average for the unit type) and with the trait of brutal – meaning that he is a sadistic pig that his men hate and this affects the units discipline with -2.

Another characterful little band of brothers.

The Scenario / Situation

We chose the “A Sigh of Relief” Scenario (Scenario G), this has the defender with a small detachment in the middle of the table and the attacker coming from one side and some reinforcements for the defender from the other.

I opted for the two unenthusiastic units being the ones in the middle, speculating that there were unenthusiastic and low on morale due to their exposed position. I hoped that the Lancers would be quick to reinforce the units and then the superior shooting from the Colour Sergeant’s  drilled men would save the day.

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The Little One set up his six tribal units at the other end of the table and told me it would be a piece of cake to rout the “Corporal Coward” and “Corporal Hero of What Empire?”. The position looked exposed indeed.

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The Battle

First round and the attack was on – the Little One’s tactic was to push his units forward with “On the Double” giving them additional speed but at the cost of needing to test for activation.  The first round only three units pushed forward.

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I managed to move the two reinforcements forward and Colonel Whateley fired a salvo at one of the Zulu units that resulted in reducing the unit with 4 models – but it did not result in it being pinned.  Colonel Dyer formed his men into Close Order to allow a more potent salvo in the next run.

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The Little One managed to activate all but one unit for the next round and the Zulus started to come a little bit too close for my liking.

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Next round Cpl. Dyer successfully did a Volley Fire that hit the Zulu unit (Bhekicizme Azisa) that was fired upon earlier – now down to 5 units and a pinned marker, enough to stop it from moving next round. The Lancers also managed to get closer into the action. Whateley, in line with his trait, decided to move (successfully) away from the oncoming Zulus (there are too many of them!).

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The oncoming force of the Elite unit of Fuzo Bungani, in combination with an attack by the Ugly Lwazi Ndonsa’s unit, had a hard impact on Cpl Dyer’s seemingly thin line and forced him to withdraw but he successfully managed to resist being pinned.  The Little one still suffered some in getting momentum on his right flank as he had problems rolling successfully in the double activations (maybe the Roll a One trait is hereditary?).

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A little close look at the proceedings on the British right and…

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on the left.

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Next round I charged the Lancers straight into the Pleasant Mannered Ighunde’s unit and the combined with a successful volley by the Coward Whateley – lead to them being double pinned (but they tool it in a good and polite way).  The Colour Sergeant were pushing closer and I felt that this was going the right way when Cpl Dyer manage to pin another Zulu unit with some fine shooting.

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The following round the Little One tried to push in with the Elite unit and needed three or more on 2 dice to activate, but instead rolled to 1s. The unit did not attack. Game Over I thought, but I was wrong.

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In a series of attacks in the next round the Zulus managed to decimate the Lancers (who did not give up without a fair fight, but they were outnumbered. Timing of cavalry attacks is not yet second nature to me!) who had to push back.

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Following this things got too interesting and we forgot to take photos, but basically the Little one realized that the caution (cowardice) of Cpl Whateley meant that he just needed to push against him and he would retreat, he then pressed forward with his remaining forces and managed to get his units organized by combining “going to ground” and “skirmish movement” followed by all out melee attacks to bring all my units out of action.

Piece of cake!

Reflections

  • I really like the rules, they are not complicated but with some of the special abilities/actions of the units, e.g. “Going to Ground”, “Close order and Volley Fire”, gives a nice and for me convincing flair of the period – at least from my perhaps over romantic perspective.
  • The character traits for the Officers, the good and the bad, added to the overall experience.
  • It is nice and plays fast and reasonably well. We will certainly play this again!
  • We played on playing area of 50 by 72 cm and had a great time – skirmish in 6mm works very well indeed.
  • The Little One liked it and gave it thumbs up!

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/ Take care

Featured

Zulus and taking the rusty cars for a spin

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I think I promised to show off the Kalisz stuff for Salute this week, but the weekend just disappeared and I have to get on with it next week instead.  However I did finish off some Zulus for my little diversion into doing some Colonial 6mm skirmish (see last blog entry here).  I also ordered some Boers from Baccus (these ones) as I fancied doing a few units of these as well.  I have also rummaged through my old boxes and found some Gatling guns and some other stuff to do when I have time.

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I organized these on bases with different number of figures to simplify the management of moving many figures and still being able to remove casualties. Each unit of tribal infantry is 16 figures strong – so I based them in on bases with 4-4-3-2-2-1 figures.  I intend to make another 8 units to get enough Zulus to get the balance right vs the British.

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Next week I hope to have a go trying out the rules (The Men who Would be Kings) and using these figures – they (the rules) seem pretty straightforward and fun having read them through twice.

I did finish of the car wrecks we prepared last week for the Terminator games we play and gave them a rather tired and rusty look to blend into the ruins we already have.

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The Little One set them up with some of the Terminator miniatures and we felt they passed the test!

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Having taken out the stuff we thought we might as well have a game.  We did not plan the Scenario too much, instead we had a “high level” situation where a platoon sized resistance force (Lt, 2 NCOs, 20 fighters) , supported by a Mortar team and two rocket launched equipped fighters, encountered a unit of 15 Endo Skeletons (1 Lvl 2 leader, 12 Normal ones, 1 with two Plasma Rifle and the star of the evening a skeleton with a flamer). Basically a “Beat the crap out of each other situation”. We used a few of the ruined building we had prepared earlier as well as the car wrecks.

It was a tight game and initially the resistance side managed to take out a fair few of the terminators before they fighting got close and the machines started dominating.  Below are a few of the before and after the flamer attack pictures.

And this was after I (yes I was the resistance and yes I lost yet again!) had almost knocked out the flamer unit with a single shot but did not manage to finish it off.

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Temporary harmless flamer unit but the resistance failed to take full advantage of the situation. Instead it was allowed to continue the carnage until a sticky bomb took it (and the user) down.

 

We both enjoy playing this game, I find it challenging for the resistance to be successful and things can turn nasty very quickly.  I still remember almost shitting myself in the cinema when I watched the beginning of Terminator 2 when the machine crushes the human skull with its feet (see the clip here if you do not remember – 42 seconds in).  As for the rules they really capture the feeling for the setting and work ok as they are.  I may tweak the activation slightly so that it is not certain that all units are activated in turn to add to the level of friction. Currently you activate between 0 to 2 figures (but can be modified with leaders) per pulse (part of a turn) but everyone activates.

Here are a few more pictures, have a good week.

 

Terminators and Sabaton

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Just as last year was nearing completion I got an e-mail from Warlord Games indicating that they had a sale on the Terminator – Genisys game that was released last year.  It was reduced from £70 to £20 and although my understanding of economics is that price is an information carrier (i.e. if the price is low the product is usually not that good) I ordered a box.  I checked today (17/01/17) and it looks like there is still a deal on the Genisys game but the cost is now £35.  I also bought a copy of the Pirates of Nassau board game that was reduced significantly too, but that is still in its shrink-wrapped state.

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Left flank action with some Resistant Soldiers taking on some Machines. The red markers indicate that the model has carried out an action in the turn.

The Genisys box comes with literary everything you need to start playing the game, including miniatures for the resistance (17 No.) and the machines (10 No.), a 2 by 3 battle mat in thick paper and some terrain tiles. The  Little one and I had a go at the basic rules and we were in full swing within minutes  – we played two of the starter scenarios and had a good time overall. The rules are simple and you can activate 0 to 2 models per pulse (part of a turn) depending on a dice roll (with the possibility to activating more if you have leaders). The robots are hard to kill, but with overwhelming fire there is a decent chance of denying the model an action in the turn and hope for that lucky killing shot at some point.  Terrain is important and a model in the open is soon taken down.

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Marker for shooting at point blank range or moving at normal speed during an activation.

I think we have found ourselves a little fun game to play every now and then.  The small playing surface makes it very easy to set up and play without upsetting any of the other going-ons in the house. A game with the number of miniatures we currently  have does not take very long to complete.

I spent an evening painting them up to a basic standard – it is always better to have some paint on the miniatures than not.

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The ten Terminators

 

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Some resistance soldiers

 

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Some more resistance soldiers…

 

More Metal to the People

We also had the pleasure, well not the Little Ones, of seeing Sabaton at the Brixton Academy this weekend.  They were supported by Twilight Force and Accept. Due to events outside of our control we arrived too late to see Twilight Force but instead our first dish of the evening were served by Accept – I have not seen Accept since my younger days and I have to say I was positively surprised and yes they did Balls to the Walls! Powerful and very seasoned.

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Accept at its best with Wolf Hoffmann at the front!

Then the onslaught started!…

Fast as the wind, the invasion has begun

Shaking the ground with the force of thousand guns

First in the line of fire, first into hostile land

Tanks leading the way, leading the way …

… They are the panzer elite, born to compete, never retreat – Ghost Division

In good tradition Sabaton unleashed themselves upon the audience with the eminent song Ghost Division.  The song is about the 7th Panzer Division that both the German Command as well as the French constantly lost track of during the invasion of France in 1940, due to its speedy advance.

Thirteen songs later a break and then a triple encore with the classic Primo Victoria about the D-Day invasion, Shiroyama the final battle of the Samurai and then the sad but brilliant To Hell and Back about the Battle of Anzio.

In short – “Awesome!”.

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Joakim, the Singer of Sabaton, with a coat similar to those worn by the soldiers during the Great Northern War, signing the fantastic title track from the epic Carolus Rex album. “I was chosen by heaven, say my name when you pray, to the skies, see Carolus rise!”

 

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Anther costume this time depicting another Warrior King, namely Leonidas of Sparta.
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Absolutely brilliant show and engaging as always! Well done!

Marching in (Brilliant) Colour

Last week I got my second batch of painted miniatures from Marching in Colour (link here) you may recall from a few updated ago (if not have a look here!).  I am really enjoying this experience and it is nice not needing to do all of it myself – for a change.  I have asked Chris to provide a basic paint job. This allows me to add my chestnut brown ink and to do some final touches before adding/painting flags and basing them to make them seamlessly blend into the existing stock.  I will start working on this batch shortly – I currently have 90 Polemos bases worth of miniatures to complete – 45 cavalry bases (with 9 mounted miniatures to each base) and 45 infantry bases (with 24 miniatures to each base). I have plenty to do and will post about getting through this pile next time.

/  Take Care and Toysoldier on!

FIW – Sharp Practice in 6mm – Part 6 Inspiration and Some Progress

Braddock’s Defeat

I just finished listening to Braddock’s Defeat on Audible and ended up buying the physical book as well from Amazon as a reference copy.  This is an amazing piece of work by David Preston and I have not had so much enjoyment (reading a book on Military History) since I read Oskar Sjöström’s Fraustadt 1706: ett fält färgat rött.  The Fraustadt book unfortunately, as is the case for a lot of Great Northern War literature, is not available in English. But I digress…

If you are familiar with the French Indian War period of history you will have heard about the British General Braddock leading a expeditionary force, in 1755, through Pennsylvania to attack the French Fort Duquesne on the forks of the Ohio River. A smaller French Canadian force, led by the French Captain Beaujeu and supported by native Indian Tribes, had decided to seek battle before the British arrived to the fort and encountered and attacked the British at Monongahela (about 10 miles from what is now Pittsburgh).  It was the French Canadian resolve and ability to quickly get organised and use the terrain efficiently in applying woodland tactics that won the day.

“Historians have generally ignored French and Native perspectives on the 1755 campaign. The French were outnumbered, outgunned, and faced crippling supply problems in their Ohio Valley posts. They despaired of their inability to halt or slow Braddock’s relentless march. However, convoys of French reinforcements led by a veteran officer, Captain Beaujeu, came to Fort Duquesne after an epic 700-mile voyage from Montreal, arriving only a few days before the fateful battle at the Monongahela.  …..

A newly discovered French account from the Archives du Calvados transforms our understanding of French and Native American leadership and tactics at the Battle of the Monongahela. The French commander, Captain Beaujeu, sent out Native scouts who brought him exact intelligence on the location and disposition of the British. Dividing his force into three parallel columns, Beaujeu organized a frontal attack on the British column with his Canadian troops. He instructed the Indians to spread out in the woods on the right and the left, and to withhold their fire until he had engaged the British. The Monongahela was neither a meeting engagement nor an ambush, but a well-planned and executed French and Indian attack on a vulnerable British column. “

Ten questions about Braddock’s Defeat by David L. Preston, accessible here.

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Painting showing a contingent of French and Indians attacking General Braddock, in the background, who is falling from his horse being assisted by Major George Washington, the future first president of the United States of America – one of many key characters of the American revolution that were involved in this expedition. (Painted by Edwin W. Deming, the painting forms part of the Wisconsin Historicial Society’s collection)

I really enjoy the story telling aspect of real history and to paraphrase Dan Carlin, “it has destroyed fiction for me” (go and listen to one of his Hardcore History Shows if you have not done so yet!, here is a link).  However being factual, intellectual and educational does not need to be boring and can instead be truly inspirational and that is this book in a nutshell.  If you have any interest in the period, or military history in general, I suggest you get hold of this one.

I think a lot can be done with the skirmish rules I have (i.e. Sharp Practice, Musket and Tomahawks and  Songs of Drums and Tomahawks) but for the “larger” battles I am not sure what good rulesets are there that captures the flavour of not just the period but in the particular way the war was fought in this theatre. But then this was only a small diversion!

Crystal Palace and that very famous Battle

I was intending to spend the day at SELWG (South East London Wargames Group) show in Crystal Palace today, but the little one had his first rugby festival for the season and luckily, because I would be a really sad bastard otherwise, I actually prefer to see him play rather than going to a wargames show.  As it is very close to where we live we ended up going for the last 45 minutes on our way home – but the last part of a wargames show is very often like drinking a pint of lager that was poured two hours ago.  I did not take any pictures of the tables on offer, but there seemed to be a good collection – a nice ancient game with loads of pikes and a Doctor Who game caught my eye.  Next weekend (on both Saturday and Sunday) is the big event at Battle with the 950th Anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings. We are looking forward to this.

Supporting Cast, Real Estate and Markers

I decided to spend the little time I had available for diversions this week finalising as much of the painting as I could for the initial Sharp Practice stuff – so I and the little one could play a proper game in a not too distant future.  This, instead of getting diverted spending hours gluing small strips of spaghetti like last week (see my last blog entry here) I actually managed to get some of the more immediate and necessary stuff completed.

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My temporary “Out of ammunition markers” using crates from Perfectsix – I did a few more. “Resthouse” by Leven Miniatures. The bases are 9mm in diameter.
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Ammo markers for artillery (again made from PerfectSix materials).
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Mule Train from Baccus
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Barricades based on various items from PerfectSix
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As above but from a different angle
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Breastworks based on some old Irregular stuff I had lying around. Painted up really well!
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As above but from a different angle
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Holymen and Doctors for both sides – Pere Bleu, Docteur Bleu, Doctor Red and Father Red.
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Carts – Engineering, Water and Ammunition Carts

I was thinking about a scenario with the characters from a famous movie set during the French Indian War – and did the three little chaps below.  / Until next

3-guys

 

 

 

Saga in 6mm – Part 11 – The Joy of 6 2016

I have had a few busy days since returning from the Joy of 6 show and I suppose I need to write a summary of what happened on the day. In short it was an excellent day.  We actually arrived the evening before and had the pleasure of doing the traditional stop in Broom Hill for an ale at the York and then a Curry at the Balti King with Peter Berry et al. It is a nice little preamble to the show and this year the discussions ranged from milk protein paint (looks interesting indeed) to kickstarters we had backed (seems like I am not the only one who has some big boxes of stuff at home).

The Sunday weather on offer was magnificent and I do not miss the old venue as it tended to get very hot inside. The new venue is superb and it is nice to see how the show grows every year and the selection of periods, game systems and style of presentation is very varied and makes the event well worth going to.  It is also nice to meet up with some old friends, although the time for a chat is limited when you are running a participation game.  Here are a few links showing off some of the stuff presented on the day (one, two, three, four).

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Our two tables on the day.  Note the Lewis chess set Queen overseeing the proceedings on the table. According to the British museum they are from the period 1150-1200 which is a little bit later than the 10th to 11th century of the Saga game – no one seemed to mind though.

 

I and Neil Shuck arrived at about 9am with the doors opening at 10am. Usually I have hundreds of Great Northern War units to put up which invariably I mess up giving me an headache in setting up – does the Kalmar regiment stand on the left or right flank?, is the Dorrellian Dragoons dismounted or on their horses? Instead I just rolled out the mats and placed the terrain and we were good to go.  Neil umpired the Kings table where we had Normans vs. Strathclyde Welsh and I umpired the Queens table where we had Vikings vs. Anglo-Danes. You can read about Neil’s day on his blog here.

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One of the first battles involved a lot of maneuvering in the forest areas.  Note the canopies having been taken off leaving the darker tiles to represent the forest area. In later games I took away some of the forest areas to allow a more full on clash.

 

Neil, not just a smooth voice on the radio but a pro umpire, just got straight into it and had a father and son playing within minutes so I just had to get going. We ran 7 or 8 games over the day and we did not dramatically change (at least knowingly) any of the original rules – they (the rules) works very well as a 6mm game. And it gives a different feel to the warband than in 28mm of being bigger – but not big enough to be an army.  The Saga rule set allow the person with the most impressive facial hair to go first in case of a tie in rolling for initiative – and on more than one occasion it was hard to tell the best beard of the day!  What is great with Saga is that it takes a while to master each faction and I learn something new every time I play (or in this case watch others playing it).

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Less forest and a more straightforward battle!

 

I think everyone who tried out the game enjoyed it and although I do hope it promoted the Saga rulesets per se I am more keen that it provoked some thought about using alternative scales for other games.  This is not universal but applies to a lot of games –  Mike Whittaker has posted some interesting things about ground scale and other considerations you may need to take (see his blog.). I have seen Flames of war in 6mm and it looks beautiful especially when there are many tanks on the table compared to 15mm, Chain of Command is based on a 15mm ground scale but perfectly playable in 6mm using centimeters instead of inches (but some consideration should be given to the basing of team instead of individuals).

Thanks to everyone who came by and asked about the terrain and how I had done this and that – it really makes my day! In addition a very big thank you to my daughter who helped out on the day and of course to Peter Berry and Wargames Emporium for putting on another fantastic show.  I am also more than grateful for the support I have had from the Meeples and Miniatures crew in getting this done (Dave I hope your foot gets better soon and Mike we need to have a beer at some point) – so thank you Neil.

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Neil’s first skirmish of the day

 

I am not 100% sure what to do for next year but I have some thoughts….

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Maybe a proper GNW action like the Battle of Lesnaya 1708?

 

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…or a Pegasus Bridge Chain of Command Scenario in 6mm?

 

I will discuss a few more Saga issues in the next posts, including some thoughts on other factions and what Baccus models to use.  Then we may move on to something completely different – but more about that later.

All the very best